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    Indoor Oceans: North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

    As a SCUBA diver for more than two decades, one of my favorite places to be is underwater exploring a coral reef, swimming among colorful schools of fish. When that’s not possible, visiting an aquarium like the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is an excellent alternative.

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    Happy World Oceans Day! “Turn the Tide” on plastic pollution!

    Oceans. I’ve been in love with the ocean from the first time I saw the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time in, on or under the Caribbean Sea as a scuba diver, as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. When I learned there is an annual World Oceans Day, I wanted to do my part to spread the word.

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    North Carolina’s Crystal Coast: Cape Lookout National Seashore and Lighthouse

    Wide beaches and wild horses await visitors to North Carolina’s Cape Lookout National Seashore, covering more than 50 miles on three undeveloped barrier islands off its central shore.

    Access to the national park, which is a part of the Southern Outer Banks, often referred to as the Crystal Coast, is only by commercial ferry or private boat.

  • Product Review: Morning Glamour Satin Pillowcases (CONTEST)
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    A look back at 2016 travels: April – California’s Central Coast (Oxnard and Morro Bay)

    Springtime is a glorious time of year to visit California’s central coast. I spent the first nine days of April 2016 in a roughly 200-mile area within Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties, venturing as far north as Paso Robles…

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  • A look back at 2016 travels banner

    A look back at 2016 travels: April – California’s Central Coast (Paso Robles)

    Springtime is a glorious time of year to visit California’s central coast. I spent the first nine days of April 2016 in a roughly 200-mile area within Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties, venturing as far north as Paso Robles…

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    Island Treasures: Mopion Islet, Grenadines

    Mopion islet. I discovered it in 2004 after surfacing from a dive on the surrounding coral reefs, and snapped this photograph that has become one of my all-time favorites. It was only after…

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    A look back at 2016 travels: January – Sanibel Island, Florida

    For those of us who love to travel, looking back at the memories we’ve made in places outside our home territory is a way to extend the pleasure of the experiences we’ve had. It also helps to reinvigorate the sense of wanderlust we feel for seeking out new destinations to explore in the year to come. I hope you’ll enjoy this retrospective of my travels in the past year.

  • Ah, Athens! Must-see sites: Acropolis and Acropolis Museum

    Thinking of booking a cruise of the Greek Isles that leaves from Athens? If so, you should plan to arrive a day before the ship departs from Piraeus port for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, you don’t want to miss the ship, due to unforeseen circumstances, like a flight delay or cancellation. And you don’t want to miss experiencing the high points of this amazing ancient city.

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  • Serendipity in Santorini: A Day to Remember

    Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

    What were the chances… “You’re going to Santorini when?” My husband and I had booked our Windstar cruise of the Greek Isles and two weeks before we were to leave, I found out that a couple from my hometown — very good friends that I’d known most of my life — were going to be staying on Santorini the same week we would be visiting from our ship.

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    Hyatt Ziva Cancun resort featured on JohnnyJet.com

    Thinking of traveling to Cancun? The all-inclusive resort, the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, is worthy of adding to your list! My blog post about this special place, posted on Johnny Jet’s website – johnnyjet.com, several months ago, will give you a full report on its rooms, restaurants and activities.

  • Scuba diving on Looe Key Reef, Florida Keys: a sanctuary for sea life

    Scuba diving to a soundtrack of tunes like Jimmy Buffet’s “Fins” and the Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden” was a first for me. Typically, the only sounds I hear underwater are the sounds of my own breathing, in and out through the regulator, as I fin along the reef.

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  • Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
  • Shelling on Sanibel with “Shellebrity” Pam Rambo, Iloveshelling.com

    It’s not every day that you get to walk the beach with a “shellebrity.” Pam Rambo, shelling expert extraordinaire, based on Sanibel Island, Florida, graciously agreed to meet up with me, along with my husband, Stephen, when we were on vacation in Sanibel in early January.

  • Nevis, West Indies: Mangos and a Visit from an Old Friend

    An old friend paid me a visit at my Paradise Beach Nevis villa on my first full day in Nevis, June 8. Pas Turner and I go way back—to ’98 or ’99—when I had my first mango daiquiri at Cla-Cha-Del, the restaurant he then operated along with his mom, Claudina.

  • Four Seasons Nevis – Dive and Dine experience: from ocean to table

    If you’re a certified scuba diver and a lobster lover, boy, do I have an experience for you! On a recent trip to Nevis, while staying at the Four Seasons resort, I accompanied Executive Chef Jason Adams, on a quest to lasso a lobster.

  • “Pack It Up” expert Anne McAlpin shares her story and how Oprah played a part in her success

    The travel bug bit Anne McAlpin at age 16, when she spent six weeks cycling through Europe. It was her first experience with overpacking, as she and…

  • How to choose your ideal island destination: Getting started

    “What is your favorite island?” Because of my experience in traveling to tropical locations, this is a question I’m often asked.

    Others are: “I want to go somewhere…

  • Why I love islands: history and culture

    I’ll admit it. History and geography weren’t my favorite subjects in school. Memorizing dry, historical facts and trying to make sense of places on a one-dimensional map…

  • Island Treasures: Motu Tapu, Conrad Bora Bora Nui’s private islet

    It’s the most photographed islet in the South Pacific—Motu Tapu—just a five-minute boat ride from the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort. It was the private beach of…

  • It’s Launch Day! March 30, 2015

    I chose this day, March 30th, as the official launch day for my website, not at random, but because it is my dad’s birthday. William R. (Bill)…

  • Welcome to Tropical Travel Girl!

    Now that you’ve found your way here, I’d like to help you navigate the site and know what’s here.

    To learn about me and how I came to…

  • Why I love islands: food and drink

    Do you ever dream about a good meal you had while visiting a faraway destination? Do you ever wish you could return to that restaurant and experience…

  • Why I love islands: flora and fauna

    Petunias and geraniums are about as exotic as it gets in Indiana, except for the occasional “hot house” orchid we can buy but must keep indoors so…

  • Why I love islands: beachcombing (sand and shell collecting)

    Beachcombing is one of my favorite beach activities. Since childhood vacations in Florida with my family, I have been fascinated with shells. Not long ago, I removed…

  • Why I love islands: scuba diving and snorkeling

    Since the Florida vacations of my childhood, I’ve loved going to the beach. In my younger life, that meant sunbathing, walking up and down the beach, and…